Thursday, September 24, 2015


Blitz Tournament – October 9

I usually wouldn’t be telling anyone that, but in this case, I couldn’t encourage it enough. This is one Blitzing entertaining tournament. This will the 15th Blitzing time we’ve run it, and all types of Blitzers have won from all Blitzing levels. Some of them have even won the Blitzing thing twice.

The beauty of this event is that it doesn’t take much Blitzing time to complete. Matches can take 2 Blitzing rallies only, or on the extreme end, maybe 10 minutes. Handicaps are assigned with every match, which is where most of the Blitzing complaints come from. Most of the time I stand my ground and tell the players to get Blitzed and live with it, but now and then both players will agree to modify it, and when that happens they’ll find out I was right in the first place, and I can proudly boast “I Blitzing told you so”.

Think you can handle all of this Blitz? Take note of the following:

  • Matches start at 5pm. Don’t Blitz it up and be late.
  • This is for ALL Blitzing players, men and women, at ALL playing levels. No Blitzing excuse.
  •  All matches are 1 game to 15 Blitzing points.
  • You will get a variety of Blitzing opponents and varying Blitzing levels. Handicaps will be assigned. I’ll do my Blitzing best to get every match to end 15-14…
  • There will be a Blitzing round robin event to start. The top two players of each group will advance to the Blitzing knock-out round where the top 3 Blitzers will be crowned.
  • If players are tied in the group round, they will draw Blitzing straws to see who advances.
  • Maximum 40 players, otherwise we’ll be here all Blitzing night. Minimum 16.
  • Drink the Blitzing keg. For Blitz sake.

·         It’s free to play if you’re a Blackballer.

Registration deadline is Wednesday October 7. E-mail me your Blitzing registration to . You won’t be Blitzing disappointed.

Monday, September 21, 2015


Nash Cup - September 18-20

The day didn’t start well. I was very disappointed when I looked up the results of the PSA draw on Friday morning of the $15,000 Nash Cup event. One of the reasons I was looking forward to going this year was because I had the chance to see the current world junior champion Diego Elias from Peru perform. By all reports, he is rather good. However, in a huge upset, he had lost his quarter final the day before in 5 games. It seemed I was stuck having to watch the others... who, as it turned out (unsurprisingly), are also well above average.

Maybe it’s that I am getting older and it takes longer for my synapses to send those messages to my brain, but the professional men’s game appears to be getting faster. And the depth of competition is increasing. The top 3 seeds did not get past the second round, and the final was between 2 players ranked outside the top 50, but played as if they should have been well inside it.

Declan James is from England, ranked 51, and a short 6 foot 4 but carries himself a lot taller than that. He has to bend his knees in order to hit an overhead volley. Abdullah Al Tamimi is from Qatar, looked half the size of James, and is ranked 78, and probably auditioned for the part of “Flash” in the Hollywood movie. ‘Quick’ doesn’t describe him. ‘Breakneck’?

It was so enjoyable to watch the final, James’ reach more than making up for Abdullah’s zippiness. It was also apparent that James was - on this particular day - the smarter player. At times, Abdullah’s shot choices were very questionable, none more dubious than the return-of-serve volley cross-court drop that clipped the tin - at game ball down. That error put him in a 2 games to zero hole, a hole that with the way James was hitting, looked monumental to climb out of. And it was. The 11-7 third game was really never in doubt, and I’m sure everybody was hoping for one or two more, but the crowd adored every second.

The women’s final was played the previous evening between the 2013 winner, Pakistani Maria Toorpakay (ranked 51) and Brit Millie Tomlinson (ranked 55). The best women’s final to date, the 2 lasses went at each other for 68 brutal minutes. Each game was won by a 3 point margin or less. Exciting all the way to the end, Millie, I feel, could have been more successful if she used the front 2 corners more regularly. Many times she was set-up to take the ball short but constantly chose to pound the ball to length instead. Maria was happy not to have to cover the front more, and ended up pinching the 5th game 11-9. Maria is now the first player (men or woman) to win the Nash Cup more than once.

The amateur draws were not as populated as previous years. The largest draw actually happened to be mine in the Open, and all my opponents were less than half my age (again!). But, score one for the veterans, I held off the youthful challenges to win the event. I played David Mill in the final. He did very well to get there, taking out his Windsor counterpart Stefan Houbtchev 3-1 in the semi. Even though I won 3-0, David is clearly improving and now that he resides in Toronto and is training at Jon Power’s center, that improvement will come on even quicker.

Me, Geoff Hunt and Josh Slominski.
Josh Slominski made the trip as well and played in the Men’s C. It was not a triumphant weekend for him, and he was understandably disgruntled with his results. Luck played a little part here as well (or un-luck), as Josh lost most of his games 11-9, or in the tie-break. With a little fortune, he could have easily have won a couple of matches. It’s important to see the silver lining and this event was a valuable learning experience. Josh will be tougher for it.

As is customary, the London Club social life was in full swing, the beer pong competition was another grueling battle, and we all bonded well into the wee hours of the morning. On a side note, it was a thrill for me meet up with an old coach of mine. Geoff Hunt is one of the greatest squash players of all time. He won 4 World Opens and 8 British Opens back in the 70’s and 80’s and he was my mentor way, way back in 1988-89. Geoff coaches Abdullah Al Tamimi and often travels from Australia to help him on the tour. The Qatari is in good hands. Josh and I naturally took the photo opportunity!

Final shout-out goes to the London Squash crew, the carpet you guys roll out gets redder every year. And, as I always repeat in every London article... I don’t understand why more members don’t play this tournament. It’s only for your benefit!

Monday, September 14, 2015


Cross Border Challenge - September 12, 2015

With the excitement buzzing around the start of this season (much of that due to the eagerness of experiencing the new court center), I was expecting a healthy amount of registrations for the Cross Border Challenge in Windsor. Eighteen is not a bad effort, but it was less than anticipated.

Maybe it was the lack of patriotism this time around that failed to push us that little bit extra, the red, white and blue colors were noticeably absent in everybody’s kit (except for a couple of members). Neither John Mann or Sante made the trip (probably something to do with Sante’s recent wedding no doubt, although squash should still take priority, right?) and since they are the ones who push the stars and stripes stylings down our throats, a smidgen more of that needed team bonding wouldn’t have gone astray. Of course, though, bonding over a few brewskis doesn’t go astray either.

If was a rough start for the lads. Ryan MacVoy is relatively new to squash and this was his first time playing a competitive match outside of our own leagues and ladders, and against a non-DAC member. It is a different animal playing a with a ‘friendly’ member than with an unknown quantity, somebody that doesn’t care who you are and only wants to kick your rear end back through the tunnel. He understandably struggled, and was disappointed with the 3-0 loss, but it was a great learning experience and he will only improve because of it.

Josh Gershonowicz also had a few issues finding his rhythm against Carlyle D’Souza who can be tough to beat anyway. Josh pushed himself diligently but fell short 3-1, not a bad result in the end. Our other Josh - Josh Slominski - was up against a very steady player in Steve Allen. Steve looked rather smooth and relaxed in his approach, hit consistent length and kept a lot of pressure on Josh who ran and tried hard, but couldn’t quite keep up. 3-0 to Steve.

Jay Bonahoom and Adam Pole. Happy it's over!
Our first win of the day came at the hands of Jay Bonahoom. He played Adam Pole and they really could not have been more evenly matched. Both ran themselves into the floorboards, long rallies, impressive retrievals... for 5 long games it was point for point. 11-9; 8-11; 11-13; 14-12. The 5th game was a battle of who wouldn’t collapse. Jay and Adam were exhausted, the mind willing, the body barely responding. Jay’s cruel short balls eventually ended to torture for them as he took it 11-9. They then suddenly found the energy to race to the bar for a beer, the fastest they had moved since game 1.

After Kevin Prather went down 3-0 - each game being 10-12 - and we had lost the first doubles match of the day 3-0 as well, it was not looking good for the DAC. We were 5 matches to 1 down. Manny Tancer was in prime position to pull one back as he headed into the 3rd game against Anis Khan with a 2 game to love lead, but he suddenly got sucked into playing a hard hitting power game and he lost control of the ‘T’. Anis is very accomplished with moving his opponent around the court, especially from the middle (!), and Manny found himself chasing too much. Still, he almost pulled out the 5th but ended up on the wrong side of the 11-8 score.

Now we had virtually no room for error. Windsor need 8 matches to secure the trophy, they only needed 2 more. I was confident we could take the second doubles match, but that didn’t go as planned either. Good news, though, was the return of Greg Rivard to the court who had been out injured for the past 12 months with a horrific ankle injury suffered at the Old Club Outing in 2014. Greg was rusty to say the least, and his partner Joey Gaylord was much the same, and the pair labored through the 3-0 loss. At least Greg survived the return and felt strong.

Josh Slominski and Steve Allen
Ian Edwards almost saved us - for at least another match. He too went to 5 and certainly had his chances to win the match against Colin Bateman. A few untimely unforced errors never bodes well and he’ll be pondering the ‘what-ifs’ after the 11-9 in the 5th loss.

The next 2 singles matches we lost 3-0 anyway, and the Cross Border trophy was out of our reach. And then we started to win. Too little too late of course, but a fine ending to the rough start and the score board looked a lot more respectable in the end.

Jon Walton and Shail Arora saved face on the doubles court - just - with a 3-2 victory over Marge Holman and Carlyle D’Souza. Doubles is a funny game. On paper I thought Shail and Jon would take the result 3-0, but Shail said after the match they were all they could handle, it’s all about finding the right angles.

Doug Fields and Paul Ward

I also thought Paul Ward would have a tough time against Doug Fields. He did, but in a successful way. Paul lost the first game but then was too steady the following 3 games as he made Doug cover a lot more court then he was willing or capable of. It was an impressive 3-1 win. Tom MacEachern then stepped up and was too strong for the athleticism of Kathy Corchis taking the match 3-1 as well.

Vikram Chopra and Paul Gebrael
The final 2 encounters had a couple of our top club players on display and they didn’t disappoint.  Vikram Chopra had a shaky start against the hard hitting Paul Gebrael losing the first game, but steadied the ship and used his wristy swing and deception with effectiveness to roll the next 3 games off. Peter Logan then finished the day off for us with a convincing 3-0 triumph, showing his experience over the speedy Jody Brown.

We had lost the day 10 matches to 6. You could say that if we had won those two close 5-setters earlier in the day, it would have been 8 matches apiece, but we can’t lay blame on those poor souls. We would not have won on games anyway.

Once again, Windsor and their pro Graeme Williams, were fantastic hosts. More beer than we could drink, many of the DAC players were there until the end and stuck around for a couple of after squash refreshments. And that’s what it is all about. Until the next one which is scheduled in April at the DAC!

The Cross Border Players!

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